While travel has all but stopped during the COVID-19 crisis, this is the perfect time to enjoy some armchair adventures.
Readers, rejoice! Over 1.4 million books have been made available in the brand new National Emergency Library created by the Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites and more. The archive is suspending waitlists through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.
Users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe, the Internet Archives explains in a blog post.
The options seem endless. Looking for a great read? Digital bestsellers include everything from Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code and John Grishams The Firm to Toni Morrisons Beloved, Paula Hawkinss The Girl on the Train and Margaret Atwoods The Handmaids Tale.
Never read the Harper Lee classic To Kill a Mockingbird? Nows the time. (Heck, you can even borrow the Cliffs Notes or the audiobook read by Sissy Spacek.) You can dig into J.R.R. Tolkiens The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. Or maybe youd prefer Shakespeare. You might decide to tackle Hamlet or, better yet, listen to Richard Burton read it to you.
History buffs interested in lessons we can learn from historys deadliest pandemic of 1918 can start with John M. Barrys The Great Influenza, which the National Academies of Science named the outstanding book on science or medicine of 2005.
Got cabin fever? You might draw inspiration for a future trip from Bill Brysons Notes from a Small Island, Elizabeth Gilberts Eat, Pray, Love, Ann Vanderhoofs The Spice Necklace or Peter Mayles A Year in Provence. For now, these literary escapes are the next best thing to being there.
To get started: You can sign up for an Internet Archive account for free from anywhere in the world, then browse the collection or search by book titles or authors. If you like what you see, consider donating to the Internet Archive.